Monday, 24 June 2024

Former Lake County resident faces prosecutions for rape, trail of bad checks

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Cole Lusby ran businesses both here in Lake County, in Las Vegas, Nev., and Klamath Falls, Ore., before his December arrest. Photo from his MySpace page.

 

 

LAKE COUNTY – A young man who was raised in Lake County and formerly operated a business here before moving to Oregon has been arrested on a battery of charges including rape and using the Internet to lure young girls to have sex with him, with additional bad check cases awaiting him in Nevada and here in Lake County.


Cole Richard Lusby, 23, was arrested in December in Klamath Falls, Ore. He lived with his family for a time in Upper Lake, where he is reported to have graduated from high school in 2002.


Sharon Forster, a Klamath County deputy district attorney handling Lusby's prosecution, said he was arrested on two counts of rape in the first degree, one count of burglary in the first degree, two counts of custodial interference in the first degree (which means interfering with the lawful custodian or parent of a child), online sexual corruption of a child in the first degree, one count of misdemeanor custodial interference in the second degree and two misdemeanor counts of third degree sexual abuse.


He's also facing misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and escape because he allegedly escaped from authorities after his initial Dec. 5 arrest, said Forster.


Two days after his escape, Lusby was discovered at the home of his mother, Terry Lee Lusby, 56, who also was arrested for harboring him.


Forster said there are also some other cases pending against Lusby for allegedly ripping off people through online sales of items.


Cole Lusby remains in the Klamath County Jail on $500,000 in bail, said Forster. He's set to go to trial on March 25.


If he's found guilty of the rape charges, he could receive eight and a half years in Oregon state prison, Forster said.


Lusby's attorney in Klamath Falls, Steve Hedland, did not return calls seeking comment.


Forster said Lusby is set to go on trial in Oregon on March 25.

 

Terry Lusby died Feb. 16.


A trail of legal issues


The legal problems for Lusby and his mother aren't limited to Klamath County. Officials say he's facing legal prosecution in Lake County and Las Vegas as well.


Lusby, a former Upper Lake resident, had made a name for himself as a promising young businessman, operating a company called Techos LLC and Techos Business Center, based in Lucerne, that specialized in Web site design.


He had made pitches to local organizations, including the Clear Lake Riviera Community Association, to build their Web sites. The Riviera association said they didn't end up using Lusby's services.


But the Northshore Business Association did, and got burned, said President Kenny Parlet.


“He pretty much left us hanging,” said Parlet.


Parlet said Lusby had built a Web site for his Lakeview Market in Lucerne, and also had done work for the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce and other well-known local business people.


Parlet said Lusby offered to do the work for the association, but nothing ever came of it. The association's Web site went inactive for a time as a result.


In the mean time, Parlet said he began steering people away from Lusby, who he said had had a juvenile record for using other people's credit cards to make online purchases, and had done juvenile time.


“He really burned some big, serious bridges,” said Parlet.


Lusby allegedly went beyond just letting down local businesses and groups.


Tina Dawn-Rubin, co-owner of the Mystic Barrel gift shop in Nice, lost money to Lusby.


She told Lake County News that Lusby approached her in 2007 with a proposal to take part in a local advertising brochure he said he was creating for local businesses.


Dawn-Rubin said she gave him $285 for the product, which she said he never produced.


She said she later confronted him, and said Lusby told her he didn't mean to scam her. But he also didn't give back her money.


Lusby's activities allegedly took a more serious bent, impacting a local nonprofit.


Andy Weiss, founder and station manager of KPFZ 88.1 FM, said the station hired Lusby in 2007 to develop the community radio station's computer system.


“Contracts were signed, and money was exchanged,” said Weiss. “However, Mr. Lusby failed to fulfill his part of the agreement.”


Weiss said Lusby never provided the computer equipment nor installation provided for in the contract.


“Many attempts were made to contact Mr. Lusby over a several month period – and his responses were confusing and unsatisfactory, and ultimately KPFZ was burdened with a $6,000 loss due to this situation – the equipment never provided, the work never done,” Weiss said.

 

In October of 2007, Lusby posted an online message to his customers that informed them that Techos Business Center closed its doors at the end of the previous August.


“We have not however, shut down the operations of our business all together. We have simply moved back to a more home-based business. During this transition, we have fallen behind in contact with many of our customers and for this I apologize,” he wrote. He encouraged anyone with questions to e-mail him “and I will do my best to resolve any issues that I can.”


His message continued, “We are currently going through many changes and currently many of our business operations are being focused out of Las Vegas, NV with new services and industry focuses. As soon as more information is available, Techos Customers will be mailed information about all that Techos is becoming. If you would like to be a part of this mailing, please send me an email as well,” Lusby wrote.


In Las Vegas, according to his MySpace page, he enjoyed visiting the casinos. One picture he posted showed him with a large wad of cash in one hand.


His MySpace page, which the Klamath County District Attorney's Office is alleging he used to lure young teenage girls to meet him, stated that is occupation is “ruling the world,” with his income listed between $75,000 and $100,000.


He also listed a quote from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone: “Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable.”

 

 

 

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Cole Lusby showing off some of the money he said he had won at a casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Photo from his MySpace page.
 

 

 


Numerous allegations involve bad checks


While he was in Las Vegas, he is alleged to have passed checks with insufficient funds. The Clark County, Nev., District Attorney's Office told Lake County News that it has two active cases against Lusby, both of which are scheduled to appear in court in May.


The first case, a misdemeanor for $325 in checks, was filed against Lusby in April of 2008, according to the office's records. The second case, a felony, was filed in July of 2008, and is for $6,265 in checks Lusby allegedly passed with insufficient funds.


From Las Vegas, he moved to Klamath Falls. There he opened a business titled Fat Cat Technology, specializing in Web design. The company was listed as a member of the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce.


But the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce told Lake County News that Lusby's business – which came in suddenly, was up and running and then disappeared – ceased being an active member in February of 2008 after Lusby made a $70 payment toward a $150 membership.


The chamber also began receiving complaints about Fat Cat Technology, which was failing to fulfill work orders and keeping computers that customers were paying to have fixed.


Case alleges use of MySpace page


In August of 2008, Lusby was on the agenda for the Klamath Falls Parks and Cemeteries Advisory Board, where he was to have offered a proposal to place security cameras in the city's parks.


Forster said that the case against Lusby alleges that, during this time, from Aug. 1 to Nov. 26, he was using his MySpace pages to lure young females into having sex with him. Those alleged actions gave rise to the online sexual corruption charges against him.


“It hadn't been a real long, ongoing thing,” she said.


From Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, the alleged actions that led to the two counts of first degree rape were taking place, said Forster.


During this time, he appears to have become involved with a young woman who also had lived in Lake County before moving to Oregon.


Seventeen-year-old Jennifer Ussery was blonde, blue-eyed and fresh-faced, and from Lusby's own account, the love of his life.


Pictures of the two of them together were featured in the online photo gallery on his MySpace page.


The situation in Klamath Falls appears to have begun to started unraveling for Lusby in October of 2008.


Forster said Lusby was arrested on Oct. 11, 2008, for aggravated theft in the first degree. He is alleged to have opened up bank accounts at Southern Oregon Federal Credit Union and US Bank and deposited checks into the newly opened accounts without funds to cover them. He also was arrested on a fugitive complaint from Nevada, where the other bad checks cases are outstanding.


Jennifer Ussery's 20-year-old brother, Aaron, was believed to have been involved in the check scam, but he offered evidence and no charges were filed against Aaron Ussery, Forster said.


Forster said Aaron Ussery, along with his sister, allegedly came to bail Lusby out in October of 2008. Aaron Ussery allegedly bailed Lusby out with money that had been used in the check scam. Officials believe Jennifer Ussery was not involved in the fraudulent activities.


Lusby was again scheduled to make an in-person presentation to the Klamath Falls Parks and Cemeteries Advisory Board to land a contract for park cameras on Nov. 6, 2008. Officials also reported waiting for a written proposal from Lusby.


However, he didn't make that meeting. The likely reason: On Nov. 3, 2008, Jennifer Ussery, 18 at the time, was killed in Klamath Falls when her brother Aaron allegedly drove her on her paper route for the Klamath Herald and News, and crashed into an irrigation canal at about 5:30 a.m. that day.


Aaron Ussery, who – according to the Klamath Herald and News allegedly was drunk at the time and unable to get out of his Chevy Blazer to call for help – is facing felony charges “of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, driving under the influence, driving while addicted to a drug and being under the influence of a controlled substance,” the newspaper reported.


On Nov. 15, Lusby posted a goodbye letter to Jennifer Ussery on her memorial MySpace page.


Calling her “my beautiful princess,” Lusby said out of the blue he'd lost “not only lost the love of my life, but also my best friend.”


“You are more than just my better half; you are my entire life. I don't know how to move on without you. Having you in my life has made the last couple years the best and happiest of my life,” he wrote.


His letter said Ussery had told him that she wanted to move to the coast with him and get married in the spring of 2009. “We said we couldn't wait to spend the next 70 years together.”


Within weeks Lusby would be arrested on the long list of charges he's facing in Klamath County.


Fat Cat's number is no longer in service, and its Web site has been taken down.


Within the past month Lusby's MySpace page also was deleted.


Lake County case also pending


Yet another case is awaiting Lusby in Lake County.


Lake County District Attorney Jon Hopkins confirmed that a case involving bad checks was filed against Lusby with his office. He said he asked the Lake County Sheriff's Office for more information.


Captain James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Lusby has one pending case with the department, a forgery and conspiracy case from August of 2008.


That case finds Lusby and his mother, Terry Lusby, once again implicated together.


Bauman said Terry Lusby allegedly deposited a little over $9,000 in fraudulent checks into her account with Westamerica Bank in Upper lake. Cole Lusby then allegedly cashed several checks, withdrawing a total of $7,200 from the account before it was determined the deposited checks were bogus.


The case, according to Bauman, was filed in December with the Lake County District Attorney's Office. Bauman confirmed that Terry Lusby also was a suspect in the case, which is being reviewed by a Lake County Sheriff's Office investigator.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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